SANDHURST midfield jet Sam Conforti is headed to the SANFL to play with Sturt next year.
Sturt announced the signing of Conforti on Wednesday, with the Double Blues to have a dual connection with Sandhurst next season
As well as Conforti playing with Sturt, so too is another former Dragon in Flynn Perez following his four years on North Melbourne's AFL list.
Having started this year on Essendon's VFL list Conforti committed full-time to the Dragons mid-season and was hugely influential in Sandhurst's run to the BFNL grand final.
In 13 games for the Dragons this year Conforti averaged 28 disposals, six marks, four tackles and five clearances, while also booting 23 goals.
The 21-year-old finished fifth with 16 votes in the Michelsen Medal, which was won by Eaglehawk's Noah Wheeler.
The explosive Conforti was one of the Dragons' standouts in their six-point grand final loss to arch-rival Golden Square.
Conforti had 29 disposals, two marks, four tackles, five clearances and kicked two goals in the grand final.
"As a proven State League performer at VFL level Sam will provide great versatility for us across a number of roles," Sturt football manager Chris Trapp said.
"He can offer speed in the midfield, outside run off the wing and goalkicking ability when forward."
Sturt's signing of Conforti coincides with Perez joining the Double Blues following his 24 AFL games with North Melbourne.
Drafted in 2019, Perez endured several injury setbacks during his stint at Arden Street, most notably an ACL injury at training in March of 2021 that sidelined him for the entire season.
Perez had also ruptured an ACL in his final season with the Bendigo Pioneers in 2019.
Despite the setback of missing all his top-age year with the Pioneers, Perez was drafted by North Melbourne with pick 35 in 2019 and debuted against Port Adelaide in round 16 of 2020 at Carrara.
Perez played the majority of his 24 games for the Kangaroos in defence.
"Flynn is a highly-skilled player with an elite kick," Sturt coach Marty Mattner said.
"A country lad from Bendigo, he spoke openly about his desire to continue to play football at a high level and in a great club environment.
"We are looking forward to seeing his positive influence on the team."
Perez played five senior games for North Melbourne this year.
Conforti and Perez join Sturt following the Double Blues losing this year's SANFL grand final to Glenelg by 24 points.
Meanwhile, former Bendigo Pioneer Marty Hore's two years back in the VFL has paid off after getting another opportunity to extend his 14-game AFL career with Melbourne.
Hore, from Leitchville, previously spent three years on Melbourne's list from 2019 to 2021 and is once again a Demon.
He heartbreakingly missed the chance to be part of Melbourne's run to the 2021 premiership having ruptured his ACL in January of that year.
Following his de-listing at the end of 2021 defender Hore told the Bendigo Advertiser of his "desire and drive" to still play AFL and has subsequently spent the past two seasons in the VFL.
Hore played with North Melbourne in 2022 and Williamstown in 2023 and was selected in the VFL Team of the Year in the back pocket in both seasons.
He won Williamstown's best and fairest this year averaging 23 disposals and 10 marks, with his two years of strong form being rewarded by the Demons giving the 27-year-old a second AFL chance via the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period.
It's not the first time Hore has had to take the VFL path to get to the Demons.
Following his stint with the Bendigo Pioneers Hore spent three years with Collingwood's VFL team, which included winning back-to-back best and fairests in 2017 and 2018 before he was picked by Melbourne with selection 56 in the 2018 National Draft.
"We are really pleased to welcome Marty back to the club and offer him a spot on our list," Melbourne list manager Tim Lamb told the club's website.
"Since departing the club at the end of 2021 Marty has had a really strong two years in the VFL; firstly for North Melbourne and then most recently with Williamstown.
"We have kept a close eye on what he's been able to produce and believe he has a lot to offer our program.
"Marty is thoroughly deserving of this opportunity and we look forward to having him part of the red and blue once again."
Hore began training with the Demons on Monday.